Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

March 18, 2013

Four dead in Cherokee County crash

From Staff Reports
Corsicana Daily Sun

— From our sister publications in Palestine and Jacksonville:

NEW SUMMERFIELD — Four Palestine men are dead and a large portion of U.S. 79 was closed for eight hours Saturday following a three-vehicle accident near Cherokee County Road 1409 between Jacksonville and New Summerfield.

According to reports from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the accident took place just before 8 a.m. Saturday.

One of the vehicles, a Chevy Impala traveling in the southbound lane on U.S. 79 veered into the northbound lane, sideswiping a blazer before hitting an 18-wheeler head on.

The driver of the Impala, Michael Estrada, and all three passengers — identified as Christian Chavez, Saul Mancera and Jaime Benitez — were pronounced dead at the scene.

All four men, in their early to mid-20s, had Palestine driver’s licenses.

Officials reported that the four had been returning home from a trip to Shreveport. Some alcohol was found in the vehicle and may have been involved, but troopers report that extreme fatigue was the most likely cause.

The investigation is ongoing, with the bodies of the men having been sent off for an autopsy.

The drivers of the blazer and 18-wheeler were uninjured.

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Jacksonville Daily Progress contributed to this report.